An AI Robot Artist Is Creating Art That Has Sold for More Than £1 Million

This humanoid robot is making us question the nature of creativity, and what constitutes real art.
Chris Young

An art exhibition of works created by a hyperreal humanoid AI robot is showing at the University of Oxford.

The robot, Ai-Da, is named after Ada Lovelace, the first female computer programmer. It uses a camera in its eye to perceive its surroundings and draws using a robotic arm.

Running until the 6th of July at the Barn Gallery at St John's College, Oxford, the exhibition has already sold £1 million of AI-created art.

An AI art movement

Gallery owner Aidan Meller told the BBC that Ai-Da was "pioneering a new AI art movement."

"As an AI robot, her artwork uses AI processes and algorithms," he said.

"The work engages us to think about AI and technological uses and abuses in the world today."

The AI art exhibition of drawings, paintings, sculptures, and even poems is called Unsecured Futures. It opened on June 12.

Reflecting a destabilized world

Ai-Da was designed by English robotics company, Engineered Arts, from Cornwall. The robotic hand, on the other hand, was developed by engineers in Leeds.

The robot uses a virtual mapping system of sorts, creating a virtual path based on what it picks up through its camera. It then represents the coordinates on the page to create its works of art.

An AI Robot Artist Is Creating Art That Has Sold for More Than £1 Million
One of Ai-Da's creations. Source: Ai-DaRobot.Com

The developers say the humanoid robot's portraits are "distorted, jagged and fragmented. The identity and character is both perceivable and obscured at the same time."

This, they say, "reflects our current world," and is a response to a human world navigating "advancing technological developments, and an increasingly destabilizing environment."

A lucrative model?

Ai-Da has sold around £1 million worth of artworks already, Dazed reports

Last year, a piece of AI-made art from Obvious Art, titled Edmond de Belamy, from La Famille de Belamy, was sold for $432,500 at Christie's.

All of this is due to a new type of impressionist art, with old styles programmed into algorithms and refracted through the surprising perception of AI robots.

Buyers are clearly keen to be at the forefront of a new pioneering style.

Though it is fascinating to behold, it is also giving plenty of experts pause for thought.

If an AI algorithm can now be incredibly lucrative in a creative field, what other human jobs can it carry out, and as a consequence, what are the socioeconomic implications? 

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